2012 Year in Pictures.

 

Here we are at the end of another year! As 2012 comes to a close in mere hours, I would like to share with you all my most memorable event or experience from the year that was.  Now this year in pictures won’t be a full year instead this year in pictures will begin with: March 2012, and goes right thru till today.

I hope you all had a great 2012, and I wish you all, all the best in 2013.

-Ben-

Here we go.  I hope you all enjoy.

On Wednesday March 7, 2012 I married my best friend, and the love of my life Ashley.  We were married at the  Garden Chapel at the Flamingo Las Vegas.

On Wednesday March 7, 2012 I married my best friend, and the love of my life Ashley. We were married at the Garden Chapel at the Flamingo Las Vegas.

 

 

On April 5th, 2012 I first blogged at www.eatinglivingrunning.wordpress.com

On April 5th, 2012 I first blogged at http://www.eatinglivingrunning.wordpress.com

 

May 2012, marked the beginning of my biggest and best running season to date.

May 2012, marked the beginning of my biggest and best running season to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 2012, was highlighted by the birth of me and Ashley's first nephew Landen.

June 2012, was highlighted by the birth of me and Ashley’s first nephew Landen.

 

July 2012, saw me compete in my FIRST EVER half marathon running race.

July 2012, saw me compete in my FIRST EVER half marathon running race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2012 saw Ashley complete her FIRST EVER half marathon running race in Edmonton, AB.

August 2012 saw Ashley complete her FIRST EVER half marathon running race in Edmonton, AB.

 

September 2012, I saw hands down the BEST concert I've ever seen. Madonna in Vancouver, BC.

September 2012, I saw hands down the BEST concert I’ve ever seen. Madonna in Vancouver, BC.

 

October 2012, saw Ashley and I return to Las Vegas, NV, for an opportunity to be tourists instead of being there to get married, lol.

October 2012, saw Ashley and I return to Las Vegas, NV, for an opportunity to be tourists instead of being there to get married, lol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2012, was marked by the sudden and very tragic passing of my amazingly perfect and loving 82 year old grandma. :(

November 2012, was marked by the sudden and very tragic passing of my amazingly perfect and loving 82 year old grandma. 😦

 

December 2012 marked me and Ashley's first Christmas and tonight: our first New Years together as a married couple.

December 2012 marked me and Ashley’s first Christmas and tonight: our first New Years together as a married couple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 and Counting!

Yesterday marked yet another birthday for me.  Here I am another year older, but sadly not really any WISER. Haha!  Turning 31 yesterday I made it clear I didn’t want to make a big over the top deal.  Yeah like that’s really how it went down, lol.  Yesterday for my actual birthday I started my big day off going for a refreshing and energizing 2.5 mile birthday run with Ashley I suppose I should also mention cold as “bleep” run, it was MINUS 18 celsius with the wind chill/MINUS 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  Despite the cold and wind we still had a great morning run together.  From there it was time for birthday brunch at home with Ashley, her dad, and his girlfriend.  For the afternoon I won’t lie, I spent it like I do most Sunday afternoons during NFL season: watching my beloved Green Bay Packers, and drinking margaritas, haha!

Last night I went for the best and most fun birthday dinner I’ve ever had.  I went for dinner with: Mama and Step Dad ELR, Uncle ELR, Ashley, her brother, my mother-in-law, my father-in-law and his girlfriend.  For birthday dinner we went to in my opinion a Must Eat At here in Calgary, “Bolero”.  Bolero is an all you can eat Brazilian steak house with servers and gauchos with meat, mmmmm…. MEAT!!!  Needless to say nobody least of all I didn’t go home the least bit hungry, or drink deprived.  After dinner I was feeling just a tad ill, due to the fact that I had about 6oz worth of tequila in my margarita in the afternoon, and half a bottle of wine, half a pint of beer, and a “BLEEP” ton of food at Bolero at dinner.

While my birthday was yesterday I was also treated to a beautifully romantic birthday stay-cation night from my AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL BEAUTIFUL WIFE.  For my pre-birthday stay-cation night this past Thursday night Ashley took me to the Hyatt Regency Calgary with a swanky hotel room, and a romantic revolving dining room dinner at Sky 360 atop the Calgary Tower (191 meters above ground level.  For dinner we shared almond crusted rack of lamb, and roasted duck, with a lovely birthday cheesecake for dessert.

Finally this weekend I chose a birthday present to myself, a life changing decision.  I chose to undergo LASIK Laser Eye Surgery this upcoming Friday: January 4, 2013.  Getting LASIK is something I’m more than excited for considering I’ve been wearing glasses/contact lenses for about the last 18 years.  I will definitely be blogging about the procedure the week of January 7th.

Here are some pictures from my memorable 31st birthday this past weekend.

Ashley at the Hyatt, Thursday night.

Ashley at the Hyatt, Thursday night.

Birthday wine at the Hyatt.

Birthday wine at the Hyatt.

Lamb, Duck, birthday cheesecake, and wife at dinner at Sky 360 atop the Calgary Tower.

Lamb, Duck, birthday cheesecake, and wife at dinner at Sky 360 atop the Calgary Tower.

Birthday boy!

Birthday boy!

Best free or paid hotel brunch buffet EVER. Hyatt Calgary you do an amazing brunch buffet.

Best free or paid hotel brunch buffet EVER. Hyatt Calgary you do an amazing brunch buffet.

Birthday run buddies!

Birthday run buddies!

Birthday morning brunch made by my amazing wife.

Birthday morning brunch made by my amazing wife.

Birthday football game and margarita.

Birthday football game and margarita.

Birthday gift to myself = LASIK!!!! :) :) :)

Birthday gift to myself = LASIK!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I have to say this was an AMAZING 31st birthday.  Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes, and were apart of it.

-Ben-

Christmas 2012!

Happy December 27th everybody.  I hope you all had an amazingly wonderful and unforgettable Christmas 2012.  This was a very special and memorable Christmas for me for 2 reasons in particular.  First being this was the first Christmas for Ashley and I as a married couple. Now not to minimize how much I loved and cherished our previous Christmas’s, but I would have to say that spending this Christmas together as a married couple made this one just a little more special, and my favorite one to date with Ashley.  The second reason this Christmas was such a special and memorable Christmas was that this was also my first Christmas as an uncle to my amazing nephew Landen.

5

Christmas morning started off with Ashley and I doing gifts and brunch at her mom’s house with her mom and younger brother (Ryan).

Christmas morning, and time to open gifts.

Christmas morning, and time to open gifts.

This has to be my all time favorite gift tag.  One of my Christmas gifts from Ashley (Sport) to me (Benson).

This has to be my all time favorite gift tag. One of my Christmas gifts from Ashley (Sport) to me (Benson).

Christmas 2012 round 1, gift haul.

Christmas 2012 round 1, gift haul.

Some of the gifts I got from Christmas morning with Ashley’s mom, and brother included: True Religion jeans, a Lululemon hoodie, 2013 Green Bay Packers wall calendar, Lululemon underwear, a FitBit One fitness tracker which I’m very eager to try out just as soon as I get it hooked up to my computer and learn how to use it to my advantage (haha), a couple CD’s, and yes even a Blue Ray copy of “Katy Perry, Part of Me” go ahead and laugh all you want I know you want to haha, and of course socks.

Christmas afternoon and evening/dinner was spent with the ELR family starting at my mom’s, and then off to my aunt and uncle’s for a lovely and very festive Christmas dinner; where everybody LOVED my banana chocolate chip loaf, and apple-cherry crisp that I baked on Sunday to take as our desserts for Christmas dinner which was a huge relief to me as I wasn’t too sure how the crisp was going to turn out given that this was my first attempt, but I have to admit it did turn out pretty darn good. 😉

Rockin' the new jeans, and Lulu hoodie to Christmas dinner.

Rockin’ the new jeans, and Lulu hoodie to Christmas dinner.

Ashley, and Mama ELR with me at Christmas dinner.

Ashley, and Mama ELR with me at Christmas dinner.

Yesterday brought Boxing Day shopping day for Ashley and I, as we both had acquired an abundance of gift cards and money for Christmas.  Some of our notable stops on the shopping circuit yesterday included stops at Old Navy, American Eagle, Lululemon, and of course Victoria’s Secret (for Ashley of course).  The day of shopping lasted 6 hours which for both of us was the longest single trip to the mall either of us had ever made.  When we arrived at the mall at 7:30am the mall was quite quiet and peaceful, but by the time we left at 1:30pm it had gotten just a tad more than absolute insanity.  Despite the massive crowd at the end we were able to pick up some amazing deals and had a pretty fun time in doing so.

gift cards, gift cards, and even more gift cards.

gift cards, gift cards, and even more gift cards.

All is calm at Victoria's Secret at 7:30am.

All is calm at Victoria’s Secret at 7:30am.

Thank-you Mama and Step Dad ELR, and my beautiful late Grandma for the Lululemon gift cards that got me the running beanie and gloves.

Thank-you Mama and Step Dad ELR, and my beautiful late Grandma for the Lululemon gift cards that got me the running beanie and gloves.

Last night we did our Christmas number 3 with Papa and Step Mom ELR, and my aunt on my dad’s side.  This was without a doubt the quietest of the three Christmas’s we’ve done thus far, but very nice and cozy none the less.  This Christmas gift exchange was basically a gift card swap so to say, as the only actual gift that was given was a sweater to my dad from Ashley and I.

After our first three Christmas’s were done (yes that’s right there’s still one more to come we will be doing one final Christmas either tomorrow or Saturday night with Ashley’s dad when he arrives in Calgary from Manitoba), I have to say while actual gifts are always so much fun to open at Christmas, I will say that as you get older and in this day and age where everybody is always buying stuff throughout the year for themselves gift cards are in most cases the most practical way to give gifts.

Last night to wind down after all the hustle and bustle of the previous couple days Ashley and I decided to have her mom’s dog “Diesel” over for a sleepover with us and we began watching one of my favorite Christmas-y movies ever Die Hard (yes it is a “Christmas movie” just not a conventional Christmas movie.

Tonight Ashley and I are spending a night away from home at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Calgary and a romantic dinner for two out.  We’re doing this as a romantic pre-birthday birthday for me just the two of us before my actual birthday this coming Sunday.

Tomorrow will mark the end of the first week off work for both Ashley and I for our Christmas 2012 vacation time,  one week down, 6 days to go.  Also tomorrow I will be having my consultation and testing done to see if I am a suitable candidate for LASIK laser eye surgery.

I hope you all had an absolutely amazing Christmas 2012 with friends and family.  From myself and my family to you and yours “Merry Christmas” or more appropriate now perhaps “Seasons Greetings”

I would love to hear how your holidays went, especially if this was a particularly special Christmas, such as first Christmas married, or first with a special new family member.

-Ben-

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!!

tree

Merry Christmas to all of my wonderful readers and your families.  I find myself in unfamiliar territory in writing a mass Christmas blog as I’ve never done the whole “Christmas letter” thing before.  Yes I’ve always done the “Christmas card” thing but never done anything where I’m expressing in my own words what Christmas is to me or my own Christmas greeting to others in my own words.  Having said this please excuse me if my Christmas blog seems a bit choppy or un-conventional, but here goes nothing….

I want to express my deepest and sincerest warm Christmas wishes for you and your entire family on this Christmas Eve 2012.  I hope this time of year brings immense happiness, warmth, and joy into your lives, along with a sense of belonging and time with family and other loved ones.  I know that many of us over time will stray from certain members of our family, and circles of friends, but Christmas provides us all with the most opportune time to mend relationships that may be strained, and to further strengthen relationships that are already established, strong, and healthy.  I hope that you all will be made to feel important and special by those close to you, and that in turn you will make others feel the same.  I know that this is a feeling very important to me, and I would like to take this time to express how grateful I am for all of you who take the time to read my blog whether you’re a regular reader or this is your first time reading my thoughts, without you all I wouldn’t have a need or desire to blog so once again thank-you thank-you thank-you!!

Christmas for me in addition to the family and friends is a great time for what is always sure to be a day filled with amazing food whether the main dish is turkey, ham, roast, or even salmon, the food is always a big draw for me, and if you’re at all like the people I spend Christmas with I’m sure it’s a big thing for you as well.  This year I have tackled a Christmas task I’ve never done before: Christmas baking.  Yesterday Ashley and I made banana chocolate chip loaf, as well as my first ever attempt at a fruit crisp.  For the fruit crisp I chose a apple-cherry crisp that I got the recipe for from Whole Foods Market and it can be found on my previous blog post or online at: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=892 .

This Christmas Ashley and I are embarking on our own real life version of the hit movie from a couple of years back “Four Christmas’s” just ours will be a bit more drawn out than squeezing all four into one day.  Tonight we will be spending the evening, and tomorrow morning at Ashley’s mom and brothers house, then tomorrow afternoon and evening with Mama, and Step Dad ELR’s, along with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew and many aunts, uncles, cousins, etc….  Wednesday Ashley and I will be seeing Papa, and Step Mom ELR and my aunt, and rounding the week off by having Ashley’s dad, and his girlfriend spending the weekend with us.  Needless to say it’ll be a very very busy week, but we’re very excited for all the family time we will be getting.

Last night we finished the last of our gift wrapping, so now all that’s left to do is ripping all that beautiful paper off the gift tomorrow.  Hopefully you all have completed your gift wrapping and can just spend tonight getting ready for Santa’s grand arrival tonight.

With all the excitement and laughter and food we all will consume over the next couple days I hope we all take the time to look beyond the wonderful gifts we all will receive and give, all the yummy foods we will eat, and acknowledge the true meaning of Christmas which no matter what religion or belief you choose to subscribe to is the birth of Jesus Christ, and secondly to spend time with those closest to us.  I also hope that we all will take time to acknowledge those less fortunate than us, and if possible take even just a few seconds to perhaps do something extra for someone who needs a little bit extra this time of year.

To all who celebrate: Merry Christmas, to all others Happy Holidays.  I wish nothing shy of ultimate happiness and love to all of you and your families.  I will be back on Wednesday with my post-Christmas day blog post.

Merry Christmas to all!!

-Ben-

Here is one last look at our lovely gift filled tree for all the present lovers out there.

photo

Apple-Cherry Crisp Recipe

Happy Holidays, and happy holiday baking to all!!  Yesterday was an afternoon of Christmas baking for me which included believe it or not… making my FIRST EVER successful fruit crisp, at least fingers crossed successful, we will have to wait until tomorrows Christmas dinner to find out for sure.

The crumble I made is an apple-cherry crisp.  The recipe I used comes from “Whole Foods Market” and can be found at: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=892 . I am also posting the recipe here.  This was to my surprise a moderately easy and fun dessert dish to make (I normally HATE baking, haha) but yes I did enjoy this one, and found it quite easy to make.

Here is the recipe along with a before baking, and after baking picture of the dish.

Apple-Cherry Crisp

Serves 6 to 8

The sweet topping on this fruit crisp, made with rolled oats and nutmeg, is a great match for its tart apples and cherries. Fresh and frozen cherries work well in this dessert so you can enjoy it long after the summer’s over.

Nutrition

Per serving: 390 calories (130 from fat), 14g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 35mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 64g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 36g sugar), 5g protein

Ingredients

Fruit
6 cups peeled, sliced tart apples such as Granny Smith (2 pounds total or about 5 to 6 apples)
2 cups pitted cherries (either fresh or 1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen)
1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground gingerTopping
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place apples and cherries in a buttered 7×11-inch baking dish or other pretty dessert dish of similar size. In a small bowl, stir together apple juice concentrate, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, zest and ginger; pour over the fruit and toss gently to mix. Set aside.To make the topping, stir together oats, pastry and white flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour and oat mixture until well combined. Spread the topping over the fruit, pressing down slightly.

Bake until the top is golden brown and the fruit is tender and bubbly, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and serve warm.

apple crisp 1
Apple crisp 2
Hopefully this dish turns out as I hope it did, and that everyone enjoys it as much as I actually did making it, I will update on the successfullness of it in my post-Christmas Day blog post Wednesday, along with how my family all enjoys the Banana Chocolate Chip loaf I also made for dessert tomorrow.
Happy holiday baking to any still baking in preparation for Christmas meals tonight and tomorrow.
-Ben-

Chocolate Chip Muffin French Toast.

This morning for brunch prior to watching the Green Bay Packers clinch their second consecutive NFC North division title over rival Chicago Bears, I made Chocolate Chip Muffin French Toast.

Over the past couple months I have posted pictures of this dish on Instagram and Twitter and received so much interest in this creation that I have decide to share this extremely simple recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

-2 large chocolate chip muffins

-3 large eggs

-1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

-1/4 cup milk (I use fat-free milk, but you can use whatever milk you prefer)

-1 1/2 tablespoons butter (margarine can be substituted but butter does work better)

-4 teaspoons icing sugar

 

METHOD:

-Cut your two muffins in half

-In a small bowl mix eggs, cinnamon, and milk together

-Add butter to heated skillet over medium/high heat and allow to melt completely

-Coat muffin halves in egg mixture ensuring halves are completely coated

-Place coated muffin halves in heated skillet

-Cook muffin halves approx 45-50 seconds per side ensuring all sides are cooked

-Remove muffin halves from skillet and plate

-Top each muffin half with 1 teaspoon of icing sugar, and finish with whatever other topping you desire ie: syrup.

-Enjoy!

 

french toast muffin 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

french toast muffin 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope that if you choose to try making this tasty breakfast/brunch dish you enjoy it as much as Ashley and I do.

Happy Sunday to all of you!

 

-Ben-

Beautiful Banff Saturday.

Yesterday Ashley and I decided to head off to Banff Alberta for a little Rocky Mountain day trip.  Banff is 129km/80.2mi west of Calgary in western Alberta situated in the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains.

banff 6

banff 1

While in Banff we used this as a great opportunity to do some more Christmas shopping, but instead of going to the traditional massive suburban urban shopping malls we were able to do it in a trendy beautiful Rocky Mountain town with street side shops many of which are uniquely local, independent, and Canadian, but also plenty of big name chain stores such as Lululemon, GAP, Roots, Starbucks, and more.

One of the must go to places for me yesterday was David’s Tea.  No, David’s tea is not a special to Banff tea boutiques, it is a chain of tea shops but it’s a shop that I’ve wanted to try for sometime and finally got around to trying yesterday in Banff. banff 2

The tea option I tried yesterday was a Santa’s Secret Soy Latte.  Santa’s Secret is composed of Chinese Black tea, peppermint leaves and spices, and topped with real crushed candy canes, a must try this holiday season if you’re at a David’s Tea.

banff 5

Another great find in the food and drink variety was a shop called “Beaver Tails”.  What is a Beaver Tail in terms of food you ask?  A Beaver Tail is a deep-fried pastry topped with delicious options such as: fruit, icing, cookies, nuts, etc..  Ashley and I decided to share a Beaver Tail and we each picked the topping combination for half of the tail.  Ashley chose vanilla icing with crumbled Oreo cookies, and I chose Apple slices in a sweet apple jelly and cinnamon sugar, our combination=AMAZING!!!!

In addition to eating, drinking, and buying unique Christmas gifts I have to admit I did buy on gift for myself.  I was overwhelmed to find this mug to add to my collection of Starbucks mugs.

banff 3

This was a beautiful date day trip for us just to get out of the big city and spend some time in the beautiful Canadian Rockies filled with smiles galore.

banff 4

Today we rounded out the weekend with a relaxing day in with brunch, followed by watching my Green Bay Packers clinch their second consecutive NFC North title with a huge 21-13 win in Chicago over division rival Chicago Bears. Now we’re looking to get a first round bye in next months NFL playoffs and eventually another Super Bowl title in February in New Orleans, Louisiana.

landingpage_divchamps_2012

Hopefully you all had as wonderful of a weekend as we had.

I’d love to hear if anybody had any wonderful and memorable experiences this weekend.

-Ben-

Back to the bASICS.

Staying in shape and maintaining your stamina and discipline can often fall off during months where we don’t feel as motivated to exercise regularly, and depending on the activity we would normally do ie: outdoor running and where we live we  experience less than optimal running conditions due to say snow and ice in the winter months.  Both of these have been the case over the last month also paired with a busy schedule at work, and in my personal life.  However  this past weekend along with the start of a new month came a new outlook: while I might be busy, or the weather may be crummy I still need to make the time and take advantage of good weather days, and supplement with more frequent trips to the gym, as running on the “Dreadmill” (treadmill) is still better and better conditioning then no running.  Taking advantage of good weather days is a must for me here in Calgary, as we don’t see a great deal of “Good Weather Days” during late fall and winter here.

back to the asics

Tonight I did my third run in five days but my first real outdoor run in the last two months.  Tonight I went for a brisk but leisurely 3.25 mile run.  I was very pleased with my effort tonight as this was the first time in my life I’ve done a real outdoors run in December, and also that I went out and ran, and ran so eagerly through the cold and icy roads.

dec 5 run

This month it is very important to me that I stay motivated and continue making progress, as I will be switching to full-on training mode as of January 1, 2013 for the 2013 race season.  I hope to complete at least one to two half marathons, and hopefully even a full marathon in August.  As well as training a lot in the upcoming weeks and months I am hoping to rest and strengthen my right knee which is perpetually recovering from its six operations.  One other goal I hope and plan to achieve this month is to drop another three pounds before my birthday (December 30).  We’ll see how that goes, haha, but I am very optimistic.

I hope that through all the hustle and bustle, and yummy foods you will no doubt consume this month with the Christmas season upon us, you will make the time to look after yourself, and keep you fitness up.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.  If you have any motivational stories I would love to hear about you and them.

-Ben-